Overwhelmed Small Business LeaderHow often have you said lately that you can’t believe how fast time goes by?

Maybe it was about your children growing up? Or you noticed how mature someone else’s children appeared? Maybe you’re in the throes of end-of-quarter activities and you’re wondering what happened to January? Or perhaps you’re like me and busy with product development. No matter what, time passes and many times we don’t notice it.

This can be rather unsettling. It’s almost as if you were asleep and just woke up. What keep us from staying in our present? It’s no secret that current technology sets the stage for us to be wired into so much information from our businesses, our families, and our favorite social media sites. This constant stream of information is hard for our brains to absorb. Frankly, multi-tasking has taken on the dimension of being Herculean. For example, try checking your email, read a blog, and send IM’s or tweets at the same time. Where’s the dropoff in understanding each message?

There’s a study that came out of Stanford recently demonstrating that people who engage in multi-tasking are actually doing something other than multiple things at the same time. First, they are switchtasking which means they are not really fully present with any one project and they bounce from task to task without devoting complete attention or work at their highest skill level. Secondly, frequent multi-tasking harms people’s ability to concentrate and filter out irrelevant information. It’s like giving yourself an attention deficit disorder. When everything feels important, how do you determine priorities?

Does your brain hurt yet?

  • As a leader of a small business, it is easy to succumb to the belief that you have to do everything and be everything. You don’t and you can’t.
  • Perhaps you’re leery of delegating more responsibilities because you think it will take too much time or energy to train someone? Maybe it will take a lot of time and energy at first but imagine how it would feel if you got to spend time on the responsibilities that will make your organization stellar.
  • Given the economy, there may not be resources to hire someone. Okay, that just stinks! Remember you’re still human. Stop setting yourself up to fail.
  • Most of us have smartphones so we’re easily found at any time of day. It’s not a mortal sin to shut off your devices every now and then.

So, if we’re all multi-tasking or switchtasking, what happens to our creativity and enthusiasm?

Are we busy with business-building activities or are we just filling time?

How do we give ourselves permission to really focus on one task at a time?